STUDENT CODE CONDUCT 2020-2021 - OF - Pasco County Schools

 
STUDENT CODE
     OF

  CONDUCT

  2020-2021
A MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year. The mission of Pasco County Schools is to provide a
world-class education for all students. By working together, parents and the school community can
reach this goal and prepare students for success in college, career, and life.

Parent involvement also is an essential element in ensuring student safety. Student academic
achievement depends on students and staff feeling safe and secure in their schools. Parents play a
crucial role in promoting safety on our school campuses by supporting the district’s Student Code
of Conduct. By reviewing the Student Handbook with your child, you can help us reinforce the
guidelines and rules students are expected to follow.

Preventing bullying and harassment is vital to establishing the safe, caring, respectful environment
necessary for teachers to teach and students to learn. Please review with your student the definitions
of bullying and the different types of harassment, as well as the consequences students could face
if it is proven that they have engaged in such behavior. I want to eliminate uncivilized, disrespectful
behavior in our schools, but I need your help to make sure students understand that the schools will
not tolerate bullying, harassment or uncivilized behavior.

We also need your help reinforcing with your student the consequences they face if they make a
threat against a school. This issue is an increasing problem with more students on social media.
Threatening violence against a school is never a joke; it always is taken seriously and the
consequences could include felony charges and expulsion from school. A new Florida law that
went into effect on October 1, 2016, makes threatening violence with a firearm a 2nd degree felony.

Our dedicated teachers, administrators, and support staff strive for a safe, productive school year
with you and your child. We welcome your active involvement in your child’s school and
education.

Sincerely,

Kurt S. Browning
Superintendent of Schools
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Academic Integrity.......................................................................................................................................................................................................16
Alcohol, Drugs, Illegal Substances and Look-alike Drugs ..........................................................................................................................................32
Alternative to Suspension (ATS) .................................................................................................................................................................................34
Athletes, School Sponsored Clubs/Activities and Social Media ...................................................................................................................................7
Attendance .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................9
Bullying, Harassment, Hazing and Teen Dating Violence/Abuse ...............................................................................................................................20
Crime and Victimization ..............................................................................................................................................................................................31
Dangerous Objects or Devices .....................................................................................................................................................................................31
Declaration of Intent to Terminate School Enrollment..................................................................................................................................................9
Disciplinary Reassignment ..........................................................................................................................................................................................28
Discipline Matrix .........................................................................................................................................................................................................34
Discipline of Students with Disabilities.......................................................................................................................................................................22
Discipline Timeline ......................................................................................................................................................................................................31
Driver License Law......................................................................................................................................................................................................12
Early Warning System: On-Track/Off-Track Systems ................................................................................................................................................11
Expulsion and Bus Expulsion Guidelines ....................................................................................................................................................................27
Extracurricular, Co-curricular Activities, and Student Organizations ...........................................................................................................................6
Fresh Start ......................................................................................................................................................................................................................2
Gambling......................................................................................................................................................................................................................32
In-School Suspension (ISS) Guidelines .......................................................................................................................................................................26
Interventions/Consequences/Reporting Elements .........................................................................................................................................................6
Introduction ....................................................................................................................................................................................................................2
Judicial “No Contact” Orders ......................................................................................................................................................................................13
Legal Notices ...............................................................................................................................................................................................................38
Major Disruption on Campus.......................................................................................................................................................................................33
Off-campus Felony ......................................................................................................................................................................................................31
Office Discipline Referrals ..........................................................................................................................................................................................33
Out-of-School (OSS) Suspension Guidelines ..............................................................................................................................................................26
Progressive Discipline ...................................................................................................................................................................................................3
Questioning of Students ...............................................................................................................................................................................................15
Reciprocal Discipline ...................................................................................................................................................................................................31
Referral Retention ........................................................................................................................................................................................................34
Reporting of Weapons on Campus ..............................................................................................................................................................................24
Respect and Civility Policy ............................................................................................................................................................................................3
Responsible Electronic Use Rules for Students ...........................................................................................................................................................19
Rules of Dress and Appearance ...................................................................................................................................................................................15
Rules of Student Conduct ..............................................................................................................................................................................................4
School Bus Rules .........................................................................................................................................................................................................24
School Safety and Mental Health Resources ...............................................................................................................................................................24
Search and Seizure .......................................................................................................................................................................................................14
Student and Parent/Guardian Appeal Rights ...............................................................................................................................................................29
Student Eligibility - Interscholastic Activities ..............................................................................................................................................................8
Student Felony Reports ................................................................................................................................................................................................13
Student Government ......................................................................................................................................................................................................8
Student Parking Policy .................................................................................................................................................................................................12
Student Placement Review Procedures ........................................................................................................................................................................13
Student Rights and Responsibilities ..............................................................................................................................................................................3
Supervision of Students Before and After School and School Activities ......................................................................................................................2
Tardy Hall/Detention ...................................................................................................................................................................................................12
TOOLS Program ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................32
Use of Reasonable Force .............................................................................................................................................................................................14
Violence Against School Personnel .............................................................................................................................................................................22
Vision .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................2
Wireless Communication Devices (WCDs) and Digital Citizenship ..........................................................................................................................17
Zero Tolerance Policy ..................................................................................................................................................................................................23
                                                             Revised by the District School Board of Pasco County July 2020
The District School Board of Pasco County does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national
origin, marital status, disability, or age in its programs, services, and activities or in its hiring and employment
practices.
                     District School Board of Pasco County Equity Manager/Title IX Coordinator:
                               Sandy May, Office for Employee Relations (813) 794-2322.

              Parent and legal notices may be found at: http://www.pasco.k12.fl.us/ssps/parent_notices

The Student Code of Conduct shall be in force twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week, on all school
campuses, school transportation and at all school functions, whether on or off school campuses. This document is
intended for the use of students, school district staff, and parents. We all share responsibility for the safety and security
of our students. Any and all threats of harm should be immediately reported to school staff. The school will work to
protect the confidentiality of all involved within the limits of the law.

Supervision of Students Before and After School or During School Activities
School authorities are charged with the responsibility of supervising students no longer than thirty (30) minutes before
or after school hours while such students are on campus, or thirty (30) minutes before or after an authorized school
sponsored activity. Parents are not to rely on school supervision outside the time limits set forth above (F.S. 1003.31).

Vision
The vision of the District School Board of Pasco County is that all our students achieve success in college, career and
life.

Introduction
The District School Board of Pasco County is committed to creating a respectful, caring community that supports
college, career and life readiness for all students. Every school year represents a fresh start for our students to have
the opportunity to do their very best, to learn new things, to progress academically and make positive behavioral
choices.

Our central goal is to teach students to engage in positive behaviors that promote hope, engagement and wellbeing so
that all students develop the social-emotional skills to be successful post-graduation. In order to accomplish this goal,
it is essential that all members of the school community know and support expectations for student conduct.

As part of our multi-tiered system of supports, the District School Board of Pasco County offers a continuum of
positive behavior supports, which are integrated with academic goals and include increasing levels of intervention in
response to student needs. Whenever possible, prevention approaches and teaching strategies are considered prior to
implementing consequences for behavior.

The Student Code of Conduct communicates minimal requirements for student behavior and summarizes the policies
of the District School Board of Pasco County. This handbook:
     • Defines the responsibilities and rights of students
     • Defines the rules of conduct and the behavioral expectations for students
     • Establishes consequences for violations of the rules of conduct
     • Describes the process for handling disciplinary infractions

Fresh Start
Each new school year is considered a "fresh start" for students to make positive behavioral choices. In order to promote
learning and behavioral change, consequences should be assigned and implemented as soon as possible after an
infraction. Disciplinary actions should be assigned within the same school year that the offense occurred. In very
limited cases, such as an investigation that extends into the summer, a pattern of bullying behavior that carries over

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from one year to the next, expulsion, alternative placement in lieu of expulsion or disciplinary reassignment,
assignment of disciplinary consequences may extend into the new school year. Other disciplinary consequences will
not carry over year-to-year.

Progressive Discipline
The District School Board of Pasco County engages in the practice of progressive discipline.

Progressive discipline is a whole-school approach that utilizes a continuum of interventions, supports and
consequences to address inappropriate student behavior and build upon strategies that promote positive behaviors.
When inappropriate behavior occurs, disciplinary measures should be applied within a framework that shifts the focus
from one that is solely punitive to a focus that also includes corrective and supportive measures.

Progressive discipline is designed to create the expectation that the degree of discipline will be in proportion to the
severity of the behavior leading to discipline, in accordance with the Discipline Matrix. The previous disciplinary
history of the student and all other relevant factors will be taken into account.

Definitions
    • The term “parent” wherever used in this document shall include a student’s parent or parents, legal guardian,
         legal custodian, or adult recognized by the student’s school as acting “in loco parentis”.
    • The term “Superintendent” shall include the Superintendent’s designees including Assistant Superintendents,
         hearing officers, and/or other administrators as is appropriate within the context of the provision.

Respect and Civility Policy
The District School Board of Pasco County believes that a safe, secure, nurturing and civil environment is essential to
accomplishing its mission to create a community which works together so all Pasco County students will reach their
highest potential.

This policy promotes mutual respect, civility and orderly conduct among all district employees, students, parents and
the general public. The policy is not intended to deprive any person of his or her right to freedom of expression. Rather,
it is intended to maintain, to the extent that is possible and reasonable, a safe, harassment-free environment for
students, families, and staff, that is free of disruptive, demeaning, intimidating, threatening or aggressive behaviors.
     • District staff will treat students, parents, fellow staff members and members of the public with respect and
          will expect the same in return.
     • District staff will not conduct business with those who use obscenities or otherwise speak in a demanding,
          loud, insulting or threatening manner.
     • Volatile, hostile or aggressive actions and words will not be tolerated, and individuals who engage in these
          activities may face penalties up to, and including, criminal prosecution.
(F.S. 1001.41, 871.01, 1006.145)

Student Rights and Responsibilities
Students shall have:
    • The right to be informed of all school rules and regulations, the consequences of breaking those rules and
         regulations, the responsibility to know and observe all school rules and accept the consequences of acceptable
         and unacceptable behavior. Students and parents are expected to be familiar with the student code of conduct.
    • The right to due process in all disciplinary actions including an appeal procedure, and the responsibility to
         cooperate with school personnel in cases involving disciplinary action, following the prescribed process for
         appeal and accepting final decisions and consequences.
    • The right to receive an appropriate education, which will include instruction using texts and materials at a
         level which allows an opportunity for success and the responsibility to participate in educational opportunities
         and complete classroom assignments and homework to the best of their abilities.

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•   The right to know in advance how grades in a class will be determined and the responsibility to understand
        the teacher's grading system and to monitor their own progress in each class.
    •   The right to hear, examine and express divergent points of view; this shall include freedom of speech, written
        expression, and symbolic expression; and the responsibility to consider and respect the divergent points of
        view of others; they should also be sure that their personal expressions (speech, written, or symbolic) are not
        damaging to or infringe on the rights of others and/or otherwise materially and substantially disrupt the
        learning environment.
    •   The right to decide whether or not to participate in symbolic (e.g., flag salute) or religious activities and the
        responsibility to respect the rights of others to participate in symbolic or religious activities.
    •   The right to nondiscrimination in regards to participation in extracurricular activities and clubs for which they
        are eligible; students may not be excluded from such activities on the basis of gender (except as allowed
        under Title IX), color, race, ethnic origin, disability, or religion, and the responsibility to abide by the rules
        and guidelines which govern extracurricular activities and clubs; they should show good school spirit and
        sportsmanship.
    •   The right to participate, to the extent eligible and otherwise qualified, in a student council process which
        provides channels of communications as a means for solving problems in a democratic process; and providing
        input into school rules and curriculum within the context of student government, and the responsibility to
        support and take an active interest in student government.
    •   The right to dress and groom in a way that expresses personal preferences within the guidelines of the school
        dress code and the responsibility to know and observe school rules of dress and appearance.
    •   The right to, consistent and in accordance with school board policy, compose and make available printed,
        audio and/or video materials for reasons that are not commercial; this shall include freedom of the press for
        all student publications, and the responsibility to ensure that all published materials made available to the
        school are free from obscene or offensive material in adherence to journalistic ethics and reflect school and
        community standards, as determined by the principal or designee.
    •   The right to peacefully assemble, in accordance with school board policy, on school grounds and the
        responsibility to assemble in such a way as to avoid disrupting the educational process or conflicting with
        school rules.
    •   The right to enjoy reasonable degrees of personal privacy, in accordance with the school board search and
        seizure policy.
    •   The right to be free from bullying, hazing, name calling, or harassment. It is the responsibility of the student
        to avoid and discourage such behavior and to report said behavior to school staff when observed.

Rules of Student Conduct
The following behaviors are considered inappropriate for students and may result in student discipline as outlined
herein and in the discipline matrix.

Level 1 Offenses
    • Inappropriate public display of affection (1B)
    • Running, tripping, pushing, hitting or similar aggressive acts (1C)
    • Tardiness (1E)
    • Unauthorized possession or use of toys, audio or wireless communication devices, collectibles, or other items
        or materials that are inappropriate for an educational setting (1I)
    • Violation of dress and appearance code (1K)
    • Unauthorized location (1L)
    • Violation of traffic, parking, bus or bicycle regulations (1M)
    • Failure to comply with classroom, school, or bus rules (1P)
    • Disrespect toward student or staff (1Q)

Level 2 Offenses
    • Disruptive behavior (2B)
    • Skipping or leaving class without permission (2C)
    • Failure to comply or complete previously assigned intervention strategies (2E)

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•   Fighting (Non-SESIR), physical confrontation or physical aggression (2F)
    •   Verbal altercation, instigating a fight, harassment (Non-SESIR) or unwanted teasing or taunting of others
        (2G)
    •   Defacing and/or destroying school or personal property resulting in damages of less than $1,000 (2H)
    •   Distribution of objects, literature, or materials that are obscene or inappropriate for an educational setting (2I)
    •   Leaving school grounds without permission (2J)
    •   Truancy (2L)
    •   Academic dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, violation of copyright laws or similar acts (2M)
    •   Misrepresentation, providing false information to school personnel, or lying about a school staff member
        (2N)
    •   Having a toy/imitation weapon (2O)
    •   Violation of campus or bus safety rules (2Q)
    •   Defying, disobeying, or disrespecting school personnel (2R)
    •   Having and/or using unauthorized items to include, but not limited to: over-the-counter drugs,
        matches/lighters, fireworks, smoke/stink bombs, laser pens and/or similar contraband items (2S)
    •   Theft or accessory to theft of property worth less than $300.00 (2T)
    •   Profane, obscene or provocative language or gestures (2U)
    •   Gang related disruption; may include materials, dress or hand signs (2V)
    •   Improper use of technology (2W)
    •   Gambling (2X)

Level 3 Offenses (Must match SESIR)
    • Mutual altercation that requires physical restraint or results in injury requiring medical attention (3D, FIT)
    • Physical use of force or violence (hitting, striking, harming) by an individual against another who does not
        retaliate, battery requires law enforcement officer (LEO) involvement and more serious bodily injury (3E,
        BAT, PHA)
    • Using, possessing, selling, purchasing or distributing alcohol, controlled substances, drugs, drug related
        items, or substance represented to be a drug (3F, ALC, DRU, DRD)
    • Having weapons, including any dirk, knife, metallic knuckles, slingshot, billie, tear gas gun, chemical
        weapon or device, or other deadly weapon as defined in state statute (3G, WPO)
    • Theft or accessory to theft of property, $750.00 or more (3H, STL)
    • Sexual harassment (3I, SXH)
    • Major disruption on campus; taking part in a riot (3K, DOC)
    • Arson, setting fire to a building or other property (3L, ARS)
    • Bomb threats, false fire alarms, hoaxes or threatening the use of a firearm (3M, DOC)
    • Extortion or robbery (3N, ROB)
    • Intimidating school staff or students or threatening them with violence or sexual assault (3O, TRE, SXA)
    • Bullying, harassment or hazing of staff or students (3P, BUL, HAR, HAZ)
    • Violations of other criminal laws (3R, OMC, HOM, KID, SXB, BRK, TRS)
    • Habitual or serious breach of bus rules (3S)
    • Possessing or using tobacco products or look-alikes (3T, TBC)
    • Defacing and/or destroying school or personal property resulting in damage of $1,000 or more (3U,VAN)
    • Sexual contact, including intercourse, without force or threat of force. Subjecting an individual to lewd
        sexual gestures, sexual activity, or exposing private body parts in a lewd manner. Must involve law
        enforcement. (3V, SXO)
    • Dangerous objects: razor blades, box cutters, common pocket knives, air soft guns, mace/pepper spray,
        chemicals, live ammunition/bullets, imitation/look-alike weapons or similar items (3W)
    • Refusing, preventing, or otherwise attempting to prevent search of their person, possessions, vehicle or
        similar search requests (3X)
    • Possessing look-alike drugs (3Y)

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Interventions/Consequences/Reporting Elements
Interventions for students found to be in violation of the school rules encompass multi-tiered behavioral supports and
may include but are not limited to:
     • Conference with student (30)
     • Conference with parent (31)
     • Assignment of reflective written work, work detail, and/or restitution (i.e.: property/damages) (32)
     • Behavioral or student self-improvement agreement (33)
     • Loss of privileges (34)
     • Peer mediation (35)
     • Daily or weekly report to parents (36)
     • Referral to Guidance Counselor, School Nurse, School Psychologist, School Social Worker, School Resource
         Officer, Behavior Specialist, School-Based Intervention Team (S-BIT), Community Agency/Services or
         similar resource (37)
     • Detention (38)
     • Bicycle privilege revoked (39)
     • Parking privilege revoked (40)
     • Referral to Dept. of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (41)
     • In-school suspension (ISS). (The student will report to school at the stipulated time but will not be able to
         follow the regular schedule or to attend extracurricular activities.) (42)
     • Bus suspension (The student will not access school transportation, for any reason, during the period of
         suspension. The student is required to attend school during the period of bus suspension.) (43)
     • Out-of-school suspension (OSS). (The student will not be permitted on any school board property during the
         period of suspension.) (44)
     • Referral to law enforcement agency (investigation or arrest) (46)
     • Recommendation for bus expulsion (47)
     • Recommendation for expulsion (48)
     • Alternative to suspension (ATS) (49)
     • Change of placement (ESE only, 45-day rule) (50)
     • Threat assessment (51)
     • Functional Behavioral Assessment/Behavior Intervention Plan (52)
     • Confiscation of items or devices (53)
     • Recommendation for alternative placement (57)
     • Batch (99)

Reporting Elements
   • Mechanical restraint (54)
   • Physical restraint (55)
   • Seclusion (56)

Grades: Teachers shall not give or threaten to give grades lower than those the student actually earned. Academic
dishonesty (cheating or plagiarism), however, will result in a lowered grade on that particular assignment. Also,
failure to properly complete assignments will naturally result in lower grades. Grades may not be lowered as a
consequence and/or form of discipline.

Extracurricular, Co-curricular Activities and Student Organizations
Extracurricular activities should be scheduled to maximize student access while minimizing conflict with instructional
time.

The following rules and procedures shall apply to all student activities and organizations:
    • They must be open to any student who qualifies; members cannot be selected by open or secret ballot
         (excluding voting for student government officers). Students shall not be excluded on the basis of race, sex,
         national origin, disability, gender, or religion.

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•    They must have a charter and/or constitution written by students and teacher sponsors and approved by the
         school administration.
    •    They must have a faculty sponsor, appointed by the principal, who will be present at all meetings; meetings
         will be held on school grounds unless otherwise approved by the school administration.
    •    Dues must be reasonable.
    •    All monies collected must be handled through an established school account.
    •    All initiation ceremonies must be approved by the school administration; those ceremonies will not be
         injurious or degrading.
    •    All meetings and social functions will be approved by the school administration and will be adequately
         chaperoned.
    •    Extracurricular activities shall establish special rules of conduct and consequences that are reasonable and
         consistent with district policy, approved annually by the principal or designee, written and distributed to
         prospective member students.
    •    These rules shall facilitate membership for the children of active military regardless of application deadlines
         to the extent that they are otherwise qualified (F.S. 1003.05).

Student Being Arrested and Charged (Involved in Extracurricular Activities)
If a student is found to have been arrested on or off campus and/or charged with a felony or a delinquent act that would
be a felony if that student were an adult, even if adjudication is withheld, then the student will be suspended from and
deemed ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities. The student shall be suspended/deemed ineligible to
participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics, for no less than ninety (90) school days from the date the
school becomes aware of said violation. After the days of suspension from participation are completed, the principal
or designee will review the suspension and make a decision concerning the eligibility of the student to resume
participation in extracurricular activities. Results of this decision may not be appealed. The suspension may be lifted
should the charges be dropped or a ‘not guilty’ be entered into the court records.
(F.S. 1006.15)

Note: Participation in extracurricular activities and athletics is a privilege, not a right, and may be revoked by the
principal for violations of the Student Code of Conduct including but not limited to actions that result in in-school-
suspension, out-of-school suspension and/or a recommendation for expulsion or disciplinary reassignment.
Suspension or dismissal from extracurricular activities may be utilized as a disciplinary consequence in addition to or
in lieu of other disciplinary actions.
Note: A student’s grade should not be lowered if they are excluded from extracurricular or co-curricular activities due
to disciplinary reasons.

Athletes, School-Sponsored Clubs/Activities and Social Media
Student athletes, as well as student participants of school-sponsored clubs and activities that are in uniform or
apparel that represents their school, team or club, both on or off campus, are representatives of Pasco County
Schools and are responsible for good behavior online, just as they are in school or on the athletic field of
competition. If a student athlete, student club participant or student activity participant violates the District’s digital
citizenship guidelines, student code of conduct, or otherwise engages in activities, including online and social media
activities, that substantially interferes with the operation of the school, creates a reasonable fear of such disruption or
interferes with the rights of other students, then the student will be held accountable in accordance with the Student
Code of Conduct. Additionally, such a student will face consequences as determined by the coaching staff, club staff
and/or school administration including, but not limited to:
     • Suspension from the team, club or activity for one or more contests or events
     • Dismissal from the team, club, or activity
     • Team forfeiture of games, contests or events
Additional consequences may be administered as outlined elsewhere in the Student Code of Conduct, Discipline
Matrix and/or school athletic policy.

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Student Eligibility – Interscholastic Activities
HB 7029 mandates each school district establish and publish eligibility standards for extracurricular activities in its
Student Code of Conduct. Per F.S. 1006.195, the following apply to all students participating in an interscholastic
program sponsored by the district. The district has established, through its Student Code of Conduct, student
eligibility standards and related student disciplinary actions regarding student participation in interscholastic and
interscholastic extracurricular activities.

In compliance with HB 7029, the district has established the following:
     • A student not currently suspended from interscholastic or interscholastic extracurricular activities, or
        suspended or expelled from school, pursuant to a district school board’s suspension or expulsion powers
        provided by law, including 1006.07, 1006.08 and 1006.09 is eligible to participate in interscholastic and
        interscholastic extracurricular activities.
     • A student may not participate in a sport if the student participated in that same sport at another school
        during that school year, unless the student meets the criteria in 1006.15.
     • A student’s eligibility to participate in any interscholastic or interscholastic extracurricular activity may not
        be affected by any alleged recruiting violation until the final disposition of the allegation pursuant to
        1006.20.

The following includes a list of FHSAA district athletics eligibility criteria, including but not limited to:
    • 2.0 GPA required for academic eligibility. A middle/junior high student must have a 2.0 GPA, or the
         equivalent of a 2.0 GPA based on a 4.0 scale, at the conclusion of each semester. A high school student
         must have a cumulative 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 unweighted scale, or its equivalent, at the conclusion of each
         semester to be academically eligible during the next semester (1006.15).
    • Athlete cannot turn nineteen (19) before September 1st of the current year.
    • Four-year eligibility limit.
    • Any other district or FHSAA policy that would remove or prevent a student from participating.

Good Cause Participation
   • A student who transfers schools and wishes to continue participating in the same sport at the new school
       may seek good cause authorization.
   • The following includes a list of examples, such as, but not limited to, which may be considered for “good
       cause authority.”
           o Move to a new residence that make it necessary to attend a different school
           o Reassignment by school board or charter school board
           o Transfer of school within the first twenty (20) days (i.e., acceptance into a previously applied for
                magnet program or career academy)

Student Government
An elected or voluntary student government will be established in all schools. The purpose of this organization shall
be to develop attitudes of and practice in good citizenship, promote harmonious relations throughout the school,
improve school morale, provide a forum for student expression, provide orderly direction of school activities, and
promote the general welfare of the school.

The student government establishes election procedures and decides upon officers’ qualifications in accordance with
district and school board policies on non-discrimination.

The student government will work to make improved communications among students, teachers, parents, and the
administration. The administration shall use the government to get student opinions on curriculum, procedures,
teacher-student relationships, and student conduct.
(F.S. 1001.43, DSBPC 5820)

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Declaration of Intent to Terminate School Enrollment
A student who is sixteen (16) or seventeen (17) years of age who is choosing to withdraw from school must sign a
“Declaration of Intent to Terminate School Enrollment” form. Students may obtain the form by speaking with
school guidance counselors or a member of the school administration staff. This form requires parent
signature/consent unless the student is legally classified as independent.

Attendance
State statute requires that “All children who have attained or will have attained the age of six (6) years by February
1st of any school year and have not yet attained the age of sixteen (16) years, except as otherwise provided, are required
to attend school regularly during the entire school term.” (F.S. 1003.21)

It is the belief of the District School Board of Pasco County that academic success requires continuity of instruction
and active classroom participation. Attendance shall be required of all students enrolled in school during the days and
hours that the school is in session. School attendance shall be the responsibility of parents and students.

School Attendance: Students are to be counted in attendance only if they are actually present or engaged in a school-
approved educational activity, which constitutes a part of the instructional program for the student.

Class Attendance: Students are to be counted in attendance if they are physically present in class or have been excused
by the teacher on a class-related assignment, or have been requested by a member of the school support staff for an
approved school activity.

Florida Law 1003.26(1)(b) provides that if a student has at least five (5) unexcused absences, or absences for which
the reasons are unknown, within a calendar month or ten (10) unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons
are unknown, within a ninety (90) calendar day period, the school must take action. The school may require
documented medical and legal excuses for a pattern of non-attendance.
     • Attendance shall be counted period by period. (Secondary only)
     • A student, whose parent or legal guardian is an active duty member of the armed forces and has been called
         to duty, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from deployment, shall be granted additional excused
         absences, at the discretion of a school district’s superintendent or designee, to spend time with said student’s
         parent/guardian, relative to such leave or deployment.
     • After three (3) unexcused absences the school shall contact the home (or work place) of the parent/guardian
         to determine the reason for the absence.

Attendance Procedures
All elementary, middle and high school students who are absent will be marked “unexcused” (U) until the
parent/guardian notifies the school in writing and justifies the absence with one of the acceptable reasons as defined
below.
    • Failure to do so within three (3) school days will cause the absence to be recorded as “unexcused”.
    • In the case of excessive or extended absences, which are claimed to be due to illness, upon request of the
         principal or designee, a parent must provide documentation (doctor’s statement) of a student’s illness.
    • Excessive or extended absences are considered five (5) in one calendar month or ten (10) in one semester, or
         a history of excessive absences per period as defined below under Student Consequences for Unexcused
         Absences. Absences that meet this threshold as defined above will require a doctor’s note. If doctor’s notes
         are not provided, absences will be marked as unexcused.

Reasons for acceptable absences include but are not limited to:
    • Illness of student
    • Major illness in the immediate family of the student (immediate family is determined as parents, brothers,
        sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, legal guardians or persons “in loco parentis,” or a member of one’s own
        household)
    • Death in the immediate family of the student
    • Religious holiday of the student’s faith (including Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Epiphany, etc.)
    • Religious instruction (including Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, etc.)

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•    Religious institutes, conferences, or workshops, provided that the principal or designee approves the absence
         in advance
    •    Absences for trips or other parental requests
              o Requests must be approved at least one (1) week in advance
    •    In-school or out-of-school suspension
    •    Subpoena or forced absence by any law enforcement agency, a copy of the subpoena or court summons must
         be submitted to the school
    •    For purposes of attendance, school related activities would not be counted as absences from school.
    •    Issues and occasions specific to military families

Tardiness and Early Checkout
Students need to arrive on time and stay through dismissal so they will receive important directions, class instruction
and avoid disrupting other students. Parents can set a good example by encouraging students to follow the school’s
time schedule and to follow the procedures found in the school handbook. All parents must report to the front office
when picking up their child prior to the regular dismissal time.

Make-up Work
Students may make up any and all assignments, tests or related work assigned on the day(s) of any excused or
unexcused absence at full credit.

The student is responsible for asking the teacher(s) for make-up tests, assignments and related work. Students will be
given a minimum of two (2) calendar days per day or period of absence to make up all tests, assignments and related
work.

Students may be given additional time as stipulated on their IEP or based on teacher discretion. Work due to be turned
in on the day of the absence will be turned in upon return and be given full credit.

Students who have been assigned out-of-school suspension (OSS) may make up all tests, assignments and related work
for full credit.

Referrals for Intervention and Support
If the initial parent/guardian meeting/contact does not resolve the problem and the person responsible for all non-
attendance, determines that an early pattern of non-attendance is developing, interventions that best address the
problem will be developed. The interventions may include but need not be limited to:
     • Attendance agreements.
     • Referral to the school-based intervention team.

If the attendance agreements and the referral to the school-based intervention team are not successful, then a referral
to the school social worker is initiated.
Once referred to the school social worker, a student and/or parent may be referred to the Office of the State Attorney’s
Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) or to Children in Need of Services/Families in Need of Services (CINS/FINS).

Truancy Prosecution
The Truancy Intervention Program (TIP) may prosecute through the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) via the school
attendance statute. A truancy referral through Youth and Family Alternatives (YFA) may also lead to prosecution via
the CINS statute. (F.S. 1003.12, F.S. 984.03)

Driver License Penalty
Students who accumulate fifteen (15) unexcused absences or absences for which the reasons are unknown, in a period
of ninety (90) calendar days may face suspension of their driver license, or for students who are under age sixteen
(16), having their application for licensure denied. Please see section on Driver License Law below. (F.S. 322.091)

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Public Assistance Penalty
Truancy may impact public assistance the family receives through the Learnfare program. (414.1251)

Intervention Systems
It is the expectation that schools will design and implement an attendance incentive program where students may earn
additional rewards and privileges. School administrators may elect to exclude the following consequences for
unexcused absences from their attendance plan.

Student Consequences for Unexcused Absences
At the secondary level, attendance is marked per period. If a student has at least five (5) unexcused absences, or
absences for which the reasons are unknown, in any one course within a calendar month or ten (10) unexcused
absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, in any one course within a semester, the student may lose
privileges as described below.

At the elementary level, attendance is marked per day. Students who accumulate excessive absences, which is defined
as five (5) unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, in any one calendar month or ten (10)
unexcused absences, or absences for which the reasons are unknown, in any semester, tardies or early dismissals may
lose privileges as described below.

Loss of Privileges Due to Unexcused Absences
    • May be excluded from attendance reward incentives as defined at the school level.
    • Lose the privilege of participating in extracurricular activities. These include but are not limited to dances,
         special events, club activities and athletics, until the end of the following grading quarter. Absences
         accumulated in the fourth quarter will result in loss of privileges during said grading quarter only and
         will not carry over to the following year.
    • Lose the privilege to drive to campus until the end of the following grading quarter. Absences accumulated
         in the fourth quarter will result in loss of privileges during said grading quarter only and will not carry
         over to the following year.

The principal or designee may review extenuating circumstances resulting in a loss of privilege(s). The principal’s
decision is final. Principal review is only intended to reinstate privileges that have been lost as described above. It is
not intended to impose harsher discipline than what is outlined herein and in another district policy.

Athletics and Extracurricular Activities
Students must be present for the majority of the school day to participate in extracurricular activities unless otherwise
approved by school administration. These include but are not limited to dances, special events, club activities and
athletics.

Early Warning System: On-Track/Off-Track Systems
The Early Warning System was designed to identify students who are at-risk for not graduating and need additional
supports and interventions. Best practice would indicate that any On-Track/Off-Track system be utilized for this
purpose as well as a motivational tool where students can earn additional privileges as opposed to a punitive and
consequence-based system.

Any loss of privileges for attendance relating to On-Track/Off-Track status must also match the Loss of Privileges
policy as stated in the Attendance section above.

Appeal Process:
Any school implementing an “on-track” or similar program must include an appeal process. During the appeal process,
in the event the student is a student with a disability under Section 504 or the IDEA or suspected of having a disability
(i.e. open evaluation or parent request for an evaluation), when assessing whether a student is to be afforded an
exemption under the program, so as to allow the student to engage or participate in the requested extra-curricular
activity or activities or privileges, the administrator (or other person hearing the appeal) shall include the following:

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1.   Take into consideration that a student with a disability, depending on their circumstances, may not be able to
     make progress at the same rate as a student without a disability.
2.   Contact school-based members of the student’s 504 or IEP team(s) to obtain information as to whether the student
     has made appropriate and sufficient progress, in light of the student’s disabilities and needs. (For the purposes of
     this section, a 504 or IEP team meeting does not need to be conducted, but instead, the administrator may speak
     with several school-based members of the team on an individual basis to obtain information).
3.   Take into consideration whether or not the student’s off-track status, or lack of sufficient progress under the
     program, is a manifestation of the student’s disability. In doing so, you must also ensure there is evidence that
     the components of the IEP (i.e. FBA/BIP, accommodations) have been implemented with fidelity.
4.   If the student’s off-track status, or lack of sufficient progress under the program, is a manifestation (direct result)
     of the student’s disability (or a product of failing to implement the plan with fidelity), and if the student has made
     appropriate and sufficient progress, in light of the student’s disabilities and needs, then the student should have
     the opportunity to engage in the relevant activity or privilege (with the exception being that a student must meet
     graduation requirements to engage in any graduation-related ceremonies).

Incentive Ideas:
Reserved premium parking spots, AM/PM school announcer, spirit gear (lanyards, shirts, hoodies, mini locker mirrors,
keychains, drawstring bags, magnetic locker items), event passes, reward store gift cards, snacks, school supplies,
miscellaneous donated items (coupons, gift cards, etc.) and lunch game video rental. Student designed lounge where
students can earn/purchase a pass with reward points. This area could be open before school and during all lunch and
would be supervised by volunteer staff. The lounge could feature air hockey, table tennis, cornhole, Xbox, Jumbo
Jenga, Legos, refreshment bar, board games, bean bag seating, etc.

Tardy Hall/Detention (Secondary Only)
Principals or designees shall have the authority to establish tardy halls where students serve immediate detention for
unexcused class tardies. The school shall develop reasonable procedures, which shall be submitted for approval to the
Superintendent or designee.

Driver License Law (Secondary Only)
The Florida Legislature has enacted F.S. 322.091(1), which provides that minors (ages 14 – 18) satisfy school
attendance requirements in order to apply for or maintain their driving privileges. In accordance with F.S. 1003.27,
the principal or designee will notify the district office of those students who accumulate fifteen (15) unexcused
absences or absences for which the reasons are unknown, in a period of ninety (90) calendar days. The school
superintendent or designee is then required to submit to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
(DHSMV) the names of the students along with their date of birth, sex, and Social Security Number. For the purposes
of maintaining the right to drive, days of suspension from school will not be forwarded to the DHSMV as unexcused.

If a student’s name is sent to the DHSMV for lack of attendance, then the student is in danger of having the current
privilege to drive suspended, or for students who are under age sixteen (16), having their application for licensure
denied. Hardship waiver hearings will be available in cases where the driver has been notified by DHSMV that the
license will be suspended. Following a license suspension by DHSMV, the driving privilege may be reinstated if the
student submits written verification to DHSMV that the student has completed thirty (30) days of attendance in school
without an unexcused absence.

Student Parking Policy (Secondary Only)
Parking in a school lot is a privilege. All vehicles must be registered to park in a school parking lot. Proof of insurance
must be presented at the time of registration and the registration is non-transferable. Vehicles that are not registered,
that are inappropriately or illegally parked, or parked so as to cause a safety hazard, may be warned, booted, or towed
at the owner’s expense.

Students who drive inappropriately or dangerously, or are found to be truant or have excessive absences (see
attendance policy) are subject to having their parking privileges suspended or revoked.

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There will be no refunds for loss of hang tags/parking privileges. If a student regains his or her driving/parking
privilege, it is subject to space availability.

A vehicle, upon reasonable suspicion, may be searched for weapons, drugs, other illegal items, or items prohibited by
school board policy, (e.g., alcohol, stolen property, or other contraband.) If any of these are found in the car,
appropriate disciplinary and/or legal action will be taken and the parking permit will be revoked.

In addition, each school may specify additional conditions for parking on school grounds at the time of vehicle
registration.

When parking or otherwise utilizing a car on school grounds, the student shall be responsible for the control of the
vehicle, and the contents contained therein. It is the duty of the student to ensure that no illegal items, weapons or
other items prohibited by the School Board Policy, are placed, stored or otherwise contained in such vehicle.
Students shall be subject to discipline and legal action when illegal items, weapons or other items prohibited by
School Board Policy are contained in the vehicle being utilized or parked on school grounds by the student.

Judicial “No Contact” Orders
The Department of Juvenile Justice will report to the school district all court orders in which a Pasco County student
is mandated by the Department of Juvenile Justice to have “no contact” with his or her victim or victim’s family
members.

Upon notification by the DJJ Transition Coordinator, the principal or designee of the school where the offender attends
will determine if measures can be taken within the existing school of attendance to ensure that the “no contact” order
can be followed. If the principal or designee feels the order cannot be accommodated at the school, consultation with
the Division of Student Services will determine how the “no contact” order will be enforced.

A “no contact” order may be issued by a circuit judge at or before the time of adjudication, withholding of adjudication,
or plea of guilty or nolo contendere for the following offenses: homicide, assault, battery, culpable negligence,
kidnapping, false imprisonment, luring or enticing a child, custody offenses, sexual battery, lewdness and indecent
exposure, abuse of children, robbery, robbery by sudden snatching, carjacking, or home-invasion/robbery.
(F.S. 1006.13)

Student Felony Reports
F.S. 1006.08 (2) requires law enforcement agencies and courts to notify schools when a student is accused or convicted
of felony-level crimes. The principal or designee must share the information with school staff that work with the
student. The informed staff must maintain appropriate levels of confidentiality. The information regarding the felony
report is not kept in the student’s cumulative record.

Student Placement Review Procedures
F.S. 1003.32 gives teachers the authority to remove a student from a class for the remainder of the school year under
any of the following circumstances:
     • Who has been documented by the teacher to repeatedly interfere with the teacher’s ability to communicate
         effectively with the students in the class or with the ability of the student’s classmates to learn
     • Whose behavior the teacher determines is so disobedient, disrespectful, violent, abusive, uncontrollable, or
         disruptive that it seriously interferes with the teacher’s ability to communicate effectively with the students
         in the class or with the ability of the student’s classmates to learn
     • Who has threatened personal harm or property damaged against the teacher or teacher’s family

Within five (5) days of the teacher’s removal of the student, the principal or designee will either return the student to
the teacher’s class with the teacher’s agreement or will determine a more appropriate placement of the student. If the
teacher and principal or designee cannot agree on a decision, a Placement Review Committee will determine the

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